(Fort Lauderdale) – During a breakfast panel at the 2015 CCA conference in Fort Lauderdale, T-Mobile’s North American Vice President of Radio Network Engineering Mark McDiarmid and Ericsson’s CTO and Head of Strategy Glenn Laxdal said North American participation in the global 5G discussion has been lacking and issued a call for operators to get involved.
“Regional leadership is extremely important,” Laxdal said. “Until 2015, the prevailing discussion of 5G was being driven by Japanese and South Korean carriers that saw a need to move forward very aggressively to 5G. But I think it’s really important that we now have the North American carrier base starting to discuss 5G in a more forceful way, in a more public way.”
“I think we’re all very concerned with driving 5G forward in a good way so we accommodate the key requirements we need to cover our use cases,” he continued. “This is why we want to join in the discussion now.”
According to Laxdal, the FCC’s contributions to the discussion will also be “critical” by virtue of their control over vast swaths of North American spectrum.
McDairmid said it will also be key to maintain a consumer interest point of view in 5G discussions as well.
“It’s important to take technology and really spend time focusing on converting it to consumer benefits,” McDairmid said. “Because if we don’t do a good job of that, specifically around the consumer segments, we can lose the consumer at the discussion.”
Right now, Laxdal said, 5G is on track to follow the same path as 4G, where some pre-standard 5G devices were released ahead of universal deployment of the service. Unlike 4G, McDairmid said, the 5G discussion involves industries outside of the wireless business, which makes it more important to have honest marketplace discussions about the future of 5G technology.
Though a general consensus has earmarked 2020 as the first commercial deployment of 5G, companies are increasingly competing to be the first to roll out the technology to consumers across the globe.
Last month, Verizon announced plans to roll out field trials of its 5G wireless technology by next year. () Shortly after, Nokia set itself a deadline of 2020 for the first commercial roll out of 5G in Europe. () Other companies, such as Huawei, KT Telecom and NTT Docomo, have also announced 5G launch dates of 2018 (for both Huawei and KT) and 2020 for NTT Docomo.